Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Anura Tennakoon have been appointed to a five-member committee to rehabilitate cricket in Sri Lanka. Brought together by the country’s sports ministry, all four former captains have preferred to work away from the spotlight and have until now publicly acknowledged only one area that needs improvement – the recent spate of injuries to their players.
Lasith Malinga spent much of 2016 in rehabilitation. Angelo Mathews was recently sidelined for a third straight Test series in a row. Many of Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers have broken down after the rigour of back-to-back Tests. The SLC has tried to address this, going so far as bringing in the expertise of a podiatrist to make custom orthodontic footwear for the players, but the new committee, under the leadership of a former president of the board Hemaka Amarasuriya, believes the matter warrants closer inspection.
“One issue to look at in the short-term is the frequency of injuries,” De Silva said. “Whenever we have a good run of form, we get injuries to key players, and we need to look at the research and try and gain a better understanding of why this is happening and how we can better handle it.”
It may also be that the committee will look into the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s domestic system. One of the five members, Jayawardene, had once submitted a proposal towards that end in 2015 but then the SLC had rebuffed it. In taking up a similar job now, he made clear he and his team can only come up with remedial measures and that it was up to the board to put them into practice.
“We are not part of Sri Lanka Cricket,” Jayawardene said. “It’s up to them to implement these plans and we hope they do, because if not all these meetings would just be a waste of time.
“I’m willing to put in one final effort to help cricket in the country, but it’s up to the board to make it happen. We can’t just keep coming back over and over again, as some sort of band-aid solution.”
It appears that the SLC is indeed keen to revamp provincial cricket – as advised by Jayawardene two years ago – and a plan on the basis of that is expected to be presented towards the end of the year.
While it remains to be seen what other issues the committee will address, some attention might be paid to overhauling the bloated voting system prevalent in the SLC. Sidath Wettimuny, when he was in-charge of the board on an interim period, advocated for the move quite strongly and had also recommended Jayawardene and Sangakkara to be brought in to the SLC decision making process.
As it stands, the committee has said it will first focus on short-term fixes following assurances by Sri Lanka’s sports minister that their suggestions would be taken under serious consideration by SLC.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo